After the Shanghai OCC’s biggest month yet – including announcing a new CHOTY frontrunner and unveiling an official media partner in Shanghai’s most important media empire That’s – the OCC headed to Nanak near Loushanguan metro station for its November meet. The restaurant itself has little digital footprint, but members had heard that the newly-opened Nanak offered authentic Punjabi Indian cuisine – although naturally the OCC pays little attention to non-members opinions.
Customer Care 5.5
Venue average 6.1
Atmosphere was the first aspect of Nanak that members noticed and remarked on – most notably because it’s located in a shopping centre. Admirable effort has been put into both the exterior and interior to lift the décor, but this fact is unavoidable. Halfway through the meal, the atmosphere was improved as some Indian music started playing over the speakers, although it did prompt members to wonder why it took until after 9pm for this to come on.
Customer care – the willingness to go the extra mile – was a tale of two halves at Nanak. When ordering, the OCC likes to ask for recommendations or specialties, but at Nanak, we were simply told ‘everything is good.’ Similarly, there was also an all you can drink option which we only found out about towards the end of the meal. By the end of the meal, however, the owner perked up. Seeing us partake in the traditional chili-eating session, he even threw down the gauntlet with a special dish he claimed would push us for spice. Not quite, but easily the spiciest curry we’ve had in Shanghai. This was greatly appreciated, and the score of 5.5 would surely be higher had this level of care been shown throughout the meal rather than just the end.
On the service front, the food and the drink orders in particular tended to take a while to be delivered. It was also disappointing that they soon ran out of Kingfisher beers. Although Japanese beers were available instead, this contributed to the relatively low score of 5.3.
The food itself was a mixed bag. The starters of poppadoms, samosas and some chicken tikka pieces were a nice way to kick off the meal, and the beads of sweat emerging from a number of members – not just a nervy trialist – was a promising sign that the OCC may have finally found a curry house that delivered on the spice front. While this was the case for the mains as well, the quality score of 6.6 indicates that members didn’t feel there was suitable variety in flavours on offer from the curries.
Lastly, the score of 7.3 for value indicates that overall Nanak represents good value. A price of 320 per head for food and a number of drinks was felt to be quite reasonable. The price of beers at 16-20 RMB was particularly pleasing to members. It was noted that even with the aforementioned free flow option, beers were so cheap it would have made more sense to buy by the bottle. The only drawback under value was portion size – although the dishes came in large bowls with a pleasing amount of sauce, the actual meat was generally lacking.
Overall, as a relatively new entrant on the Shanghai curry scene, it’s clear that Nanak still has some teething problems. It shows real promise in terms of serving genuinely spicy food, and the OCC hopes this trend can spread throughout Shanghai. While we would not necessarily recommend travelling from other parts of the city to eat there, if you are in the area and craving a curry, Nanak is a solid option.